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WSI News - News Watch

Fundamentals work for Sox

Frank Thomas says he knows what he has to do to become "the old Frank" again, the slugger whose power numbers through most of the 1990s ranked up there with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

"I have to stop swinging at bad pitches like I've been doing all season," said Thomas after his two-run home run helped the White Sox to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs Saturday in Comiskey Park. "I have to be patient again at the plate. I have to take pitchers deep into the count and foul off good pitches and draw my walks."

Thomas was describing almost exactly the patience at the plate that teammates Jose Valentin, Josh Paul and Royce Clayton demonstrated Saturday when they ran up rookie Mark Prior's pitch count as fast as a meter on a taxi racing along an expressway.

Right-hander Prior had to be pulled from the game when his pitch count hit 112 after only five innings. He threw 90 of those 112 pitches in the third through fifth innings.

"They sure were patient today," Thomas said. "When you stretch out a pitcher like Prior you can get him out of the game. And he's a great pitcher. A great young talent."

The White Sox took 39 of Prior's 90 pitches for called balls in his last three innings. They fouled off 24 other pitches. So 63 of the 90 pitches worked the count against Prior and shortened his stay in the game.

"We've all been doing that real well lately," said Carlos Lee, whose sixth-inning home run provided the winning margin. "We see the pitches and take them for walks. Everybody is real patient right now."

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